Tuesday, February 15, 2011
(June 1991, U.S.)
When I recall the Summer of 1991, the first thing that comes to mind regarding movies is TERMINATOR 2:JUDGEMENT DAY. The second thing that comes to mind is that it was a summer filled with comedy, and I think I saw them all; SOAPDISH, NAKED GUN 2 1/2, HOT SHOTS, WHAT ABOUT BOB?, LIFE STINKS (oh man, that one sucked!!!), etc. Although I'd have to give top comic dollar to WHAT ABOUT BOB? that summer, CITY SLICKERS didn't disappoint, nonetheless.
Having reached an age myself (43) that is now over the ages of the film's characters, it's interesting to watch this film now and see what grown men are capable of when trying to do battle with the traditional mid-life crisis. In this case, the cure is a two week Southwestern cattle drive for Billy Crystal's character and his two best friends (played by Daniel Stern and the late Bruno Kirby). The men slowly "learn the ropes" of moving a herd and even have a tense encounter with the two professional cowboys who work the drive while being drunk. The encounter is stopped with the arrival of Curly (played by Jack Palance), the wise, tough-as-nails trail boss. The real attraction of this film IS Jack Palance, who clearly should have been a real cowboy instead of an actor. Curly's philosophy of life certainly seems simple enough; limit yourself to just one that you care about most in life and commit yourself to it. Okay, so I suppose saving the life of a baby calf is just as viable a choice as anything else in life...NOT!!!
There's a moment at the end of the film when we learn that the entire herd of cows has been delivered to Colorado for the sole purpose of slaughter at the meat company. There's this brief moment of pause that I suppose would make all the world's vegetarians happy in that we're supposed to consider the cruel injustice of the slaughter of cows. Well, speaking as a lover of thick steaks and juicy hamburgers...sorry, but I'm not sold on it. I love meat!
CITY SLICKERS will be twenty years-old this summer. Geez, where has time (and my youth) gone to???
Favorite line or dialogue:
Mitch Robbins (addressing his son's grade school class): "Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you're a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, "What happened to my twenties?" Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You'll call it a procedure, but it's a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn't matter because you can't hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering "how come the kids don't call?" By your eighties, you've had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can't stand but who you call mama. Any questions?"
It's so nice to know I have all those things to look forward to. Thanks, Billy!